What next? VACC, the peak automotive industry body in Victoria asks what other ill-thought out, unworkable and misguided ideas are about to be made regarding the automotive industry.

“As Australia prepares for the closure of automotive production in 2017, the entire automotive industry needs time to adjust and discuss with the Federal Government strategies to take the industry forward. Instead, we are hit with one pointless hair-brained idea after another, from politicians, the Productivity Commission and other social commentators,” VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said.

“Recent calls to flood Australia with used car imports and enable consumers to directly purchase new cars from overseas were made in the name of red tape reduction and increased consumer choice. The reality is it would bring the exact opposite, with so many problems that motorists and businesses would become bogged down in paperwork and consumer detriment would escalate.

“It is frustrating because many of these ideas are generated by people, with little or no automotive industry experience and the Government appears to be reluctant to speak directly to the automotive industry itself.  Mixed messages also cause confusion and some consumers might delay the purchase of their new cars in light of this public debate. 

“For example, yesterday, our national body, the Australian Motor Industry Federation (AMIF), corrected many misunderstandings caused by misinformed reports about new imports in an already overcrowded market. If AMIF had been consulted in the first place, it would have been clear that any thought of enabling consumers to buy overseas vehicles directly, with no regulatory regime in place, with no safety, security or consumer rights considerations, with no thought to guarantees or warranties, and with no indication of how or when the Australian Design Rules will be amalgamated or overtaken by international standards, not to mention service, repair and component parts issues, you really wonder what our politicians and so called automotive industry experts are doing.

“Why would you not consult with the automotive industry prior to releasing documents to the media? With three out of four people, approximately 320,000, involved in the automotive industry employed in the RS&R sector, surely it makes sense to talk to this group of experienced, knowledgeable and seasoned professionals for insight and input.

“VACC members and our sector are robust, dynamic and not afraid of change or competition. However, we are concerned about lurching from one baseless idea to another, groping in the dark for a solution, when the answer is staring everyone in the face: come and talk with the automotive industry first,” Mr Purchase said.